Bodywork Schools and Careers
With more and more people seeking hands-on wellness treatments like massage therapy, the availability of reputable bodywork schools is increasing. The bodywork training and massage therapy training gained from such programs can lead to a world of rewarding careers. While bodywork techniques range from more conventional therapies such as sports massage to specialized methods like Hellerwork, all of them use methods of touch and movement to physically manipulate the body or its energies in order to promote healing.
Bodywork Career Overview
Bodywork encompasses both ancient and modern practices from a variety of cultures. While most bodywork patients seek out massage therapies or movement therapies, others use energy-based therapies like healing touch and Reiki. Practitioners help patients treat issues such as chronic pain, muscle tension, sports injuries, anxiety and depression.
As many forms of bodywork become increasingly mainstream, graduates of massage therapy and bodywork schools are able to find work in a variety of settings: private practices, medical offices, spas, rehabilitation clinics, and health clubs. Some practitioners conduct bodywork sessions in homes or workplaces.
Learn about all the different types of bodywork careers.
Bodywork Training and Education
What You'll Study in Bodywork School
Bodywork schools teach the fundamentals of how the body works, as well as providing hands-on practice of the techniques you choose to specialize in. Massage therapy schools focus on massage techniques like sports massage or deep tissue massage. Both types of programs will also teach you about safety issues, business practices and ethics.
Average Length of Study
Bodywork programs vary in length, but an entire massage therapy training program can take anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of years to finish. Many states, as well as the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, require practitioners to complete at least 500 hours of training at an accredited institution.
The cost of tuition at bodywork schools depends on the length and type of program you attend. The cost of attending a program at least 500 hours in length may range from $5,000 to $10,000, while programs that are 700 or 1000 hours in length generally cost between $12,000 and $15,000. Massage therapy schools may also require you to purchase a massage table or other equipment.
States that license massage therapists and other bodywork practitioners may require certification. Certification in the bodywork professions is usually granted by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, which requires at least 500 hours of training as well as passing a standardized exam. This credential indicates that you have reached a high level of professional mastery and dedication as a practitioner.
Learn about massage therapy licensing and certification.
Bodywork Career Outlook
Interest in bodywork and other natural healing arts is growing. The 2007 National Health Interview Survey reported that 8.3 percent of adults used massage therapy and 1.5 percent used movement therapies during the previous year. The outlook is especially good for massage therapists—jobs are expected to grow by 19 percent from 2008 to 2018.
Graduates of bodywork schools can go on to earn a very generous salary, particularly massage therapists. The average annual wage for those with massage therapy training is $39,780, but those in the top 10 percent earn $68,670 and above. Massage therapists and bodywork practitioners may also earn generous tips, depending on their work setting.
Is a Bodywork Career Right for You?
Bodywork careers can be physically demanding, but extremely rewarding. Hands-on therapies like massage impart a level of healing and comfort that traditional medicine cannot usually provide, and patients experience increased relaxation, reduced pain and tension, and greater overall wellness. If you'd like to practice natural healing methods that involve a hands-on therapeutic approach, take the time to research bodywork schools.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2011
National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, 2010
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